I am starting to plan a trip for my family and parents for Feb 2017 and want to be ready to pull the trigger when Feb 2016 rolls around
Now that my parents can easily transfer their points to ours - I was thinking would be great to stay in one of the villas in Aruba, or St. Thomas - but nothing ever seems to be available - even in July!!
St. Kitts seems to be the only one available - but not sure we will be happy with an un-swimable beach
Any thoughts or advice
Thanks as always!
Be careful with using points for MVC in St. Thomas. If you can be assured a view with additional points, it might be worth it. In 2014, I purchased (paid $2000 for) a package from Marriott for Frenchman's Cove St. Thomas, and had a villa with absolutely NO VIEW. Literally, our balcony looked at the building in front without even a hint of an ocean view. I complained and complained, but was told that the villas with views were used by Frenchman's Cove owners. I was very disappointed and angry and was offered nothing expect words from Marriott. I would never stay at Frenchman's Cove again unless going with friends who actually own a platinum week there. FYI - I own 2 other MVC timeshares and am a Platinum Elite rewards member who has over 100 paid nights at Marriott hotels in both 2014 and 2015.
If you are looking to use Marriott points at one of the Aruba Vacation resorts, they rarely show up where you can use points. Almost never happens. Same with the Vacation club in St Thomas. It's hard to find a Marriott Vacation Club that has rooms available using Marriott Reward points, especially in these locations. I would not count on it or wait for it. You may find some reasonable rates.
My suggestion is if you are set on staying at a Marriott Vacation Club in these locations, use Redweek or another similar site where you can rent a week from an time share owner. You will find some reasonable (and sometimes really good deals) rates from owners. Check Redweek or a similar site where time share owners rent their weeks.
If you must use points, I think you are going to be stuck using points at one of the Marriott hotels in Aruba or St Thomas which are all great hotels. You just will not find a two bedroom or larger room if that is what your looking for.
About the only location I always see Vacation Club rooms for points are in Orlando and that's because the market is saturated.
Welcome to the "Cannot use my points when I want to" world of MR despite having PP status and lots of paid nights. It is the T&Cs of MR that irk me:
The Company and its travel partners may, among other things: . . . . .; c) add blackout dates, limit rooms available for any Reward at any participating hotel . . . ;
sagsal, the Marriott villas on St. Kitts have a lovely beach where you can swim or snorkel. Is there some reason you are thinking that the beach there is unswimmable? I guess I didn't get that memo. My family swam there all week and snorkeled. We loved it. Actually, we have Aruba booked this winter and are concerned that Aruba is too overcrowded and commercialized. St. Kitts is an unspoiled beauty. I'd highly recommend!
That is great to hear
I keep reading on Trip advisor how the water is really rough and not enjoyable
My kids will be 5, 8 and half and 11 are not used to the waves and I want to make sure we go to a resort where we can enjoy the beach
We were thinking about St. Croix and staying in the studio - but I like being able to pool points and get a three bedroom with my parents in St. Kitts - I have just been concerned about the beach
sagsal, my kids were 6 and 8 when we went last February. The beach did have some waves but they were very calm. The 8 year old and I did lots of snorkeling, and she had no problem at all with waves or choppy water. There is a reef just off the shore that breaks up the waves and provides a spot to see tropical fish. It's very shallow along there, and you can easily walk out to the reef and not worry about an undertow. The villas are 2 or 3 bedroom and are modern and spotless with washer/dryer, full kitchens, and multiple balconies with sitting areas. My kids also loved the Kids' Club, the pizza shack on site, and the huge and uncrowded pool. Everyone at the resort was friendly and welcoming. We really had a great week there. I agree with ks77 regarding Nevis as well. Take the ferry over for a day or if you have the bucks for it, spring for a night or two at the Four Seasons. Pinney's Beach is wonderful. Charlestown is an interesting historical town. Our cab driver on Nevis was John Prentiss, and he took good care of us and somehow magically seemed to know just where we were and when to pick us up, etc. The drivers on St. Kitts are the same way. It's a great place for kids. Also you can walk to the Caribbean side from the Marriott as the island is very narrow at that location, and there are beaches on the Caribbean side as well. They are smaller, calmer, and have black sand.
I agree with clebert, St Kitts is very quiet and relaxing. I didn't stay in the villas but did in the main building. I went the first week in December 2013 and it was very quiet. Beach was almost to ourselves. They have lots of permanent little "hut" looking structures where you can put your beach chair under it and a little concrete table to hold things. The pool in my mind was the best part. The pool is HUGE and has an awesome swim up bar. The island itself was nice. I found the locals to be friendly. Taking the ferry to Nevis is kind of a pain but Nevis is beautiful. I had a great trip and I know you would too.